The Whole duty of a woman : female writers in seventeenth century England /
[edited by] Angeline Goreau.
Garden City, N.Y. : Dial Press, 1985.
viii, 344 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 21 cm.
0385278780 (pbk.)
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Garden City, N.Y. : Dial Press, 1985.
0385278780 (pbk.)
catalogue key
Bibliography: p. [333]-344.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1985-12:
As this anthology demonstrates, there were many talented women writers in the 17th century, though ``modesty''-the expansion of ``chastity'' to include areas of self-effacement and restraint beyond the sexual-prevented them from publishing. Goreau's first section, ``Education: Learning and Modesty,'' includes masculine diatribes against any serious attempt to open the traditional classical education to girls. Without such background, many women who overcame their modesty to write remained apologetic for their ignorance. The second section, ``The Women's Sharpe Revenge,'' which takes its title from a 1640 pamphlet (see below), provides selections from antifeminist tracts with responses by Ester Sowernam and others. The final section, ``The Female Pen,'' is of most interest; it offers brief but tantalizing glimpses of women who wrote and published (e.g., Margaret Cavendish and Katherine Phillips) and others (e.g., Aphra Behn) who made a living from their pens. Unfortunately, Goreau includes too many apologetic prefaces and not enough of the works themselves. Still, even these snippets are useful and thought provoking, and libraries may wish to order this collection for graduate and upper-division undergraduate patrons, especially if it is supplemented by the Simon Shepherd collection, reviewed below.-V.M. Vaughan, Clark University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 1985
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